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Information about Crawford MS
I am making this Thread as a place to collect information on Crawford MS (sometimes "Crawford Codex"), which is hard to find, but has received some attention in this group. I am personally very interested in the Manuscript and am asking anyone to report what they know about it.

The Codex is a Peshitta text from the 12th century, which has all 27 writings of the New Testament (and a Passion harmony), but is in almost complete agreement with the eastern Peshitta (Hebrews 2:9 being the exception). The text originated in a monastery in southeast Turkey. It is interesting to note how it was not too far from the regions in which much of the New Testament also originated.

"On fol. 250a within a multi-coloured border there is a count of the number of shahe, pethgame etc. in the New Testament. It is much effaced. Fol. 250b has a colophon, also not all legible, in a serto hand. The scribe was Stephen, a monk of the monastery of Mar Jacob the recluse of Egypt and Mar Barshabba near Salafo in Tur 'Abdin. He mentions the names of some of his relatives and his teachers. The latter are the late Rabban Quriakos, Rabban Sahda, Rabban Saliba, Rabban ?Marnaha, that is, ?Haya, and Rabban Barsauma. Text and translation are given by Gwynn, Apocalypse, part 2, pp. 31-8 and 94-9 resp."

Specific questions I had:
Can you confirm or deny that Crawford MS agrees with the eastern text in the known locations (e.g. in Acts 20:28, Hebrews 2:9, 2:16, the Pericope Adulterae (John 7:53-8:11), Luke 22:17-18, Acts 8:37, 15:34, 28:29)?
-> it agrees with the eastern Peshitta in all places except Hebrews 2:9.

Are there any other significant discernible readings that are not found in the eastern text?
-> Apparently no, but there are some errors in spelling.

In the past I have heard some believe the text is not that great after all, having many errors of ortography, and is textually not clearly eastern either. If anyone can provide more details on this I would greatly appreciate it. Like, what specific errors or weaknesses can you name? Any information on the text would be appreciated.

Here goes my collection of information:

The western five texts (2 Peter, 2 & 3 John, Jude, Revelation) as found in Crawford are available here:

The first book by John Gwynn, "The Apocalypse of St. John, in a Syriac Version Hitherto Unknown" (1897), where he also argues that Crawford MS reads like an original and not a translation:

The other book by John Gwynn, "Remnants of the later Syriac versions of the Bible" (1909), which contains the four "western" epistles:

Gwynn's Article "On a Syriac Ms. of the New Testament in the Library of the Earl of Crawford, and an Inedited Version of the Apocalypse included in It" in "The Transactions of the Royal Irish Academy", Vol. 30 (1892 - 1896), pp. 347-418 (72 pages)
(Gwynn sometimes erroneously omits Jude from his description of the Codex)

On the monastery in which the text was produced, "Syriac Monasicism in Tur Abdin: A Present-Day Account" by Mark DelCogliano (2006):

Jegar Sahadutha-"Heap of Witness" (Evidence for an Aramaic Original NT) (2008) by Rev. David Bauscher, which argues that Crawford Revelation is the original Aramaic text:

Divine Contact-Discovery of The Original New Testament (2007) by Rev. David Bauscher, where we learn the same:

The Crawford MS Codex is part of the John Rylands Collection (Syriac MS 2).

On the text and variants like Hebrews 2:9 (from ):

(09-08-2008, 09:37 PM)Stephen Silver Wrote: Shlama Akhi Otto:
 The Crawford Codex is the Peshitta New Testament with only one western change (Hebrews 2:9). Now I understand that the Crawford W-5 is the Philoxenian Recension, not the Harklean Version. I have noted the differences between the Crawford Codex and the Mosul text (Harklean) in the 4 Western Epistles. The book Remnants, does a thorough study on all of the known variants.

I have read the intro to Remnants of the Later Syriac Versions of the Bible which Paul Younan graciously posted. This is the definitive work. Check out some of the names on this work, John Gwynn, Prof. F.C. Burkitt and  Dr. Christian D. Ginsburg. This is a definitive work of 19th Century scholarship.

Remnants of the Later Syriac Versions

Many on this forum have wondered what became of the Philoxinian Recension and it's been under our noses and in use as the Crawford Codex. The Crawford, Book of Revelation was available on the internet with John Gwynn's transcription of the original text. There are some slight differences between the Crawford (Philoxinian) and the Harklean (1891 Mosul text). However, as Remnants of the Later Syriac Versions clearly points out, the Harklean is a revision to conform to the western Greek oriented churches. Moreover one can easily study the entire W-5 at this time by downloading the PDF of Remnants.


(09-08-2008, 07:00 PM)ograabe Wrote: The Western Five according to Dave Bauscher as written in his The Original Aramaic New Testament In Plain English:

"The Epistle of 2nd Peter is not included in The Peshitta ; neither is 2nd John, 3rd John, Jude or Revelation. Those books are supplied in John Gwynn's edition of the General Epistles from The Crawford Aramaic manuscript and others of these books.

These books have been included in the Western Canon of The Syrian Orthodox Church, The Maronite Church and others which use the Aramaic NT, however, the General Epistles in those churches have been based on The Harklean Syriac Version, which is a translation from the Greek NT into Aramaic done in AD 616.

The text used by John Gwynn is not The Harklean Version. The texts of the two editions are quite diverse in many places, & Gwynn characterizes the Crawford & Palestinian Aramaic texts used as very Peshitta-like 'as idiomatic as The Peshitta'- and of a high quality, unlike the Harklean's Aramaic, which is quite crude and stilted, -'has systematically done violence to the Syriac' - very obviously a literal translation of Greek. (See John Gwynn's introductions to Remnants of The Later Syriac Versions of The Bible & The Apocalypse of St John. Gwynn was not a Peshitta primacist, however; he believed the Syriac NT was entirely translated from Greek.)"

Is Dave correct about this issue? He apparently rejects entirely the Harklean Revelation.


(from ):
(12-06-2010, 09:01 PM)Stephen Silver Wrote:
konway87 Wrote:According to Steven Silver, Crawford Codex has only one western change (Hebrews 2:9). So after Peshitta, I think it is the next most accurate manuscript.

 I disagree. The Khabouris Codex, Yonan Codex (of which we have transcribed only a small portion) and the Mingana Codex are all virtually identical, while the Crawford Codex has minor grammatical errors and some variations which I found later one. I don't have a list of the errata of the Crawford Codex.
 I transcribed the Western Five from the Crawford Codex and it varies from the UBS (United Bible Society).

Mingana Codex

 The Mingana Codex is in excellent written form and in my personal opinion it is better than the Khabouris Codex.

Stephen Silver

On the Aramaic and Greek of Revelation in Crawford MS (from ):

(12-02-2010, 07:35 PM)gbausc Wrote: (...)
I have numerous examples in Revelation, showing that the Greek of Revelation is translated from the Crawford ms. readings, and not vice versa.
John Gwynn states in his book on The Crawford ms. of The Apocalypse that the Crawford text is very like the Peshitta's text in other books and far
superior to the Harklean. It is idiomatic and excellent Aramaic and would easily be taken for an original Aramaic composition by any who did not know better.
Frankly, no one knows better, as scholarship on this subject is rife with unwarranted assumptions and unhistorical assertions that take for granted that the entire Peshitta is a translation of the Greek NT. I have found just as much, if not more, evidence to support Aramaic Crawford primacy as I have found for Peshitta primacy in other NT books. That evidence is in the books, Divine Contact and in my translations, as well as in Jegar Sahadutha-Heap of Witness.
Facts are what are needed when discussing this matter, as in all scholarship. Simply quoting authorities and claims is not going to prove any position.

Another interesting point Gwynn makes is that the vocab. of Crawford Revelation is so like that of the Peshitta OT, that it is as if the writer of it learned
the Peshitta OT so well beforehand that he translated Greek into idiomatic Peshitta Aramaic quite naturally!
One problem is that we cannot find any Greek text, or combination of Greek texts that could be used to translate into the Crawford text. It just does not work that way; the converse scenario can be shown, and I have done so.


Dave Bauscher

(12-03-2010, 08:09 PM)ograabe Wrote: Apparently the fourth century AD Vaticanus Greek New Testament tends to agree with the Crawford text of Revelation. Meanwhile the Majority text and the Byzantine family of Greek texts does not. Vaticanus wasn't "discovered" until the 19th Century so the Crawford is unlikely to a translation of that Greek version.


(12-03-2010, 08:58 PM)konway87 Wrote: I think 4th century Codex Sinaiticus manuscript also agrees with Crawford Revelation in certain places. I think it is mentioned on page no. 382 of Bauscher's Book.

Comparison between Crawford MS and western Peshitto with commentary:
(05-04-2015, 07:00 PM)gregglaser Wrote: Please download the 2nd Edition (corrected) transcription of the 'Crawford Codex of Revelation' at either the links above, or at Dukhrana, or here:

[Image: glyna-transcription-button.jpg][Image: glyna-translation-button.jpg][Image: glyna-translation-with-commentary-button.jpg]


Fourth, the process of scribing an ancient codex is rewarding, but if you make a mistake in your published work (ESPECIALLY the Book of Revelation) it weighs on your heart and can keep you up at night.  I pray that if there are any of my 8-mistake original editions floating around in cyberspace that they be discarded, and that my revision posted here: (1) Transcription; (2) Transcription with Translation; and (3) Transcription, Translation & Commentary -- be supplanted in their place.  If you are reading this post and can help make that happen, you?ll have my gratitude.  

Greg Glaser
It is not all too easy to get our bearings when the vast majority of scholarly sources on the history of the Peshitta contain objectively erroneous claims and statements. There isn't even a way to reconcile the claims about Syriac NT writings with the evidence, so drawing meaningful conclusions is always original research.

It appears that this text may indeed be a faithful copy of the so-called Philoxenian recession made in 508 AD. The text is found in the same region in which Philoxenus lived, and it reads as we would expect it to (closer to the eastern Peshitta than the Harklean). However, since at least the text of the 22 writings also found in the eastern Peshitta predates Philoxenus, it cannot be said that he translated this text. Rather, at best he assembled it, if it is his work at all.

While some may assume he simply translated the western five, the text does not really allow for this conclusion. The text is far too uniform and coherent to have been the quick work of some isolated translators. For example, the usage of "Mar" in Jude 1:4 follows ancient Jewish practice. And the variants between the Western five and the regular Greek do not at all allow for the theory that Philoxenus just translated some Greek texts existing in the area - as this would have yielded results more akin to the Old Syriac.

Since the text essentially agrees with the eastern Peshitta, which remained static since at least the mid 4th century, even if it is Philoxenus' text, it was assembled from very ancient sources. It is possible and even likely that the text of the western five also goes back to pre-existing Aramaic versions which would have existed in the region since a long time, just like the Old Latin versions in the Latin speaking regions.

With that in mind, it is entirely possible that the entire text actually predates Philoxenus. It could be what Philoxenus used for his version, a copy of his version, or may represent an earlier version of the text. I find issues with the idea that it is actually the Philoxenian recession, as it did not change anything in the pre-existing text of the 22 writings of the earlier eastern Peshitta. In any case, the Crawford MS contains the complete Aramaic NT in a version that predates the western Peshitto.

Personally, I suppose it is the most important biblical manuscript in existence. With a high likelihood, Crawford MS contains the entire NT in the earliest known version of any complete (27 NT writings) Aramaic NT. While we cannot verify the specifics, there is also little reason for doubt. Just like the eastern Peshitta works very well as an archetype of the New Testament text in all versions, so do the western five in Crawford MS make sense as the archetypical versions. One can only hope that future research and discoveries will improve our knowledge of the original Aramaic New Testament.
Jesus is the one true God of the Bible.
(08-22-2022, 03:03 PM)Andrej Wrote: I am making this Thread as a place to collect information on Crawford MS / Crawford Codex, which is hard to find, but has received some attention in this group.

The Codex is a Peshitta text from the 12th century, which has all 27 writings of the New Testament, but to my knowledge is more in agreement with the eastern Peshitta than any other complete Peshitta text. I am personally very interested in the Manuscript and am asking anyone to report what they know about it.

Unfotunately I don't have the capacity to judge, but I have Dutch Syrian friends, who have been reading the Crawford codex, and they said it had quite a lot typo's.
Yes, typos and peculiarities support the idea of the text being a distinct tradition, a text "between" the eastern and western texts, which may represent a version that predates our standardized Peshitta texts, and possibly represents the earliest complete Aramaic NT.

I am looking for reliable sources on the details, to test the idea that it is actually preserving the archetype of the Peshitta text. Presumably, it is actually in agreement with the eastern text except for two passages, and therefore is not endorsed by those who advocate peshitta primacy based on their orthodox traditions.

However, since I am not a dogmatic nor an advocate of any particular tradition, it seems plausible that the Crawford MS contains the entire original text of both eastern and western Peshitta, i.e. before any changes. Of course this would imply that there may be two changes in the eastern text, which is why I am desiring to verify it.
Jesus is the one true God of the Bible.

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